With 11 games played, Rich Sharpe looks at how Tony Mowbray has used his Rovers squad so far.


Rovers have used only 20 players so far, the second fewest in the division, with six ever-presents, four of who have played every minute.

There were times last season where trying to name the Rovers starting XI was a futile exercise, but it’s been more straightforward this time around, largely owing to the smaller squad at the manager’s disposal and a more settled look to the selection.

Across the 11 games there have been only 12 changes, three the most made for one single match, that being the 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough before the first international break.

Four players (Thomas Kaminski, Daniel Ayala, Lewis Travis and Ben Brereton) have played all 990 minutes, with Harry Pickering featuring in all but 13 having been replaced in the latter stages of the draw at Millwall. For Ayala, it is a stark contrast to last season where he played only 784 minutes across an injury-hit season.

Joe Rothwell is the other ever-present, but only finished three of the 11, though seven of his eight departures have come in the final 15 minutes of matches.

John Buckley and Tyrhys Dolan have been involved in every game so far, Buckley making 10 starts and one substitute appearance, compared to Dolan’s nine starts and two substitute appearances, but it’s the midfielder ahead in terms of minutes by 105.

Darragh Lenihan saw his run of ever-present minutes end when replaced for the final quarter against Cardiff City, his thigh injury then sidelining him for the defeats against Huddersfield Town and Blackpool.

Sam Gallagher has had injury concerns in the early weeks of the season, forced off in the first half of the Blackpool defeat, in what was his ninth start.

Ryan Nyambe also missed out at the weekend, his fourth absence from the starting XI after a hamstring injury earlier in the campaign, which means Hayden Carter has only played 38 fewer minutes than the Namibia international.

Carter has started two games fewer than Nyambe’s seven, but with one more appearance in total, he’s played the 12th most minutes in the squad.

The most selected XI so far this season, named four times by Tony Mowbray, is: Kaminski, Nyambe, Lenihan, Ayala, Pickering, Travis, Rothwell, Buckley, Dolan, Brereton, Gallagher.

The main talking point of that is the lack of involvement for new signings.

Of the new recruits, Leighton Clarkson and Ian Poveda are the only two to break into the starting XI, Liverpool loanee Clarkson having started three matches and Leeds winger Poveda, two.

Clarkson’s five appearances are matched by Jacob Davenport and Brighton loanee Reda Khadra, though there’s have all been from the bench.

Tyler Magloire is the only other player in the squad to be included in the starting line-up, Blackpool his first in two-and-a-half years, and one of four appearances this season.

Dan Butterworth has been used four times off the bench, with Tayo Edun and Harry Chapman, loaned out to Burton Albion on deadline day, completing the 20 players used with their three substitute outings.

Injuries will likely dictate how Rovers fare this season, and the hope will be for more options in the coming weeks.

Bradley Johnson started 25 of Rovers’ 46 matches in 2020/21, with a further five substitute appearances, and was in the matchday squad for the first time in this campaign at Blackpool after being sidelined by a hamstring strain.

Jan Paul van Hecke and Scott Wharton are on the comeback trail to add depth to the defensive ranks, while Joe Rankin-Costello is another who Rovers hope to have back in the near future.

The other player named in the 25-man squad submitted to the EFL is Bradley Dack, with Rovers expecting him back before the end of 2021.


Minutes played: Kaminski, Ayala, Travis, Brereton (all 990), Pickering (973), Rothwell (865), Buckley (836), Lenihan (776), Gallagher (735), Dolan (731), Nyambe (561), Carter (523), Clarkson (215), Magloire (204), Poveda (142), Khadra (103), Davenport (73), Edun (73), Butterworth (63), Chapman (44)